Many have asked me why I didn’t write a recap article about the Wisconsin recall election of Governor Scott Walker. The simplest answer is that I was on an internet-less odyssey to Providence, RI in order to attend this year’s Netroots Nations conference. But the more honest answer — previewed a bit in the podcast — is that I couldn’t really think of much to add to the “doom and gloom” peddled by the sentinels of conventional wisdom.
Did Scott Walker outspend Tom Barrett? Of course. Does this portend a wave of right-wing spending to buy elections away from the Democratic party at the state and national level? Of course. But you already knew that.
Does this embolden new attacks on public workers and the unions that defend them? Well, to answer a question with a question, did the Right need anything to “embolden” their approach to public workers and unions?
But the result in Wisconsin does not, however, signal an insurmountable weakness for unions, who never possessed the same power in Wisconsin that they have in other states like Ohio, who roundly defeated the Scott Walker-inspired Issue 2 last year.
Does this suggest that the Wisconsin that hailed Scott Walker is in danger for Barack Obama and the Democratic party in November? Probably not. Indeed, exit polls suggest that the majority of Wisconsin recall voters support Obama and many oppose Walker but feel strongly that the power to recall a governor should be limited to charges of crimes or official misconduct.
Wisconsin was certainly a black eye for the Democratic party and unions, but the recall has few negative implications beyond Tuesday. If anything, the election was a boon for Democrats and unions at every level below the the Scott Walker Governor’s Mansion.
It appears that the Democratic party will successfully regain control of the Wisconsin State Senate. The party has gotten a free preview of the state’s politics and garnered valuable exit poll data on citizens who will actually — not hypothetically — go to the polls. And third-party groups have inundated the state with attack ads targeting the generic Republican party, while there was very little counter aimed at Barack Obama as a specific commander-in-chief.
Scott Walker will keep his job in Wisconsin, but the exit polls suggest a Democratic party challenger in 2014 is well placed to defeat the sitting governor.